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Monthly Archives: November 2017

Why I Am Missing The “Disney Channel Years”

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna want to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb…

“I haven’t heard this song in years”, my 16 year-old daughter said as she turned up the Miley Cyrus song on the car radio.

“I haven’t either. I loved this song when you and your sister were little”, I said wistfully.

“So did we”, she responded as we listened to Miley.  She then added, “Disney Channel just isn’t what it used to be”.

Was my daughter getting nostalgic?

I thought for a moment and said, “Oh, you just say that because you’ve become too old for it. I’m sure that younger kids love what is on Disney Channel now. It just isn’t yours anymore”.

Her answer to that was, “I don’t agree Mom. Think about the shows that we used to watch. They were the best. I am sure that anyone my age would say the same thing”.

For the rest of the ride we reminisced about Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, That’s So Raven, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Lizzie McGuire. We spoke about the movies: Camp Rock, The Cheetah Girls, Halloweentown, Cow Belles, and, of course, the iconic High School Musical.

We discussed how successful some of these child stars have become: Miley Cyrus, Raven Simone, Vanessa Hudgens, Hillary Duff, Selena Gomez, Zach Efron –  just to name a few.

I felt myself starting to get sentimental about these shows. I used to love plopping myself down on the couch with my girls to catch a good episode of Hannah Montana. I remember getting so excited for them while they were getting ready to watch High School Musical 2, after the original had become such an obsession.

I hadn’t realized that I missed all of that.

I didn’t know it then, but life was simpler, especially for my family. Sadly, my husband passed away just as our girls were coming out of that “Disney Channel Phase”. Their innocence was suddenly lost. Those magic years of sitting in front of The Suite Life of Zach and Cody (that was their Dad’s favorite) had disappeared. Before I knew it, they were in high school and getting ready to go off to college.

After that ride in the car, The Climb was stuck in my head. I thought about the words:

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down, but
No, I’m not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just got to keep going
And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on, ’cause…
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna want to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

It’s the climb. There are many moments which make up the road that gets us through life. Some are difficult, such as getting through a tragic loss. Some are as simple as staying up late to watch Camp Rock.

Those words are pretty powerful. Miley Cyrus was a pretty smart girl at such a young age.

There will always be a part of me that misses those Disney Channel  days with my daughters. Tonight, I just might cuddle with my girls and watch The Hannah Montana Movie.

 

 

 

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Is Bad Luck Really a Thing?

Of course this would happen to me. I just have bad luck”.

My 18-year-old daughter made this statement to me a couple of months ago. As I wrote about in my Huffington Post article, her college roommate decided not to come to school at the very last-minute. My very anxious daughter was left without a roommate at the beginning of her freshman year of college. To say she was unhappy is an understatement.

My response to her bad luck statement was that she was being ridiculous, that there is no such thing as bad luck.

The thing is, I was not so sure if I believed what I was saying. I hate to admit it, but sometimes it does seem like she just has bad luck. I also feel that way regarding myself, and to some extent my younger daughter.  It feels like bad things just seem to happen.

Someone once told me that life only gives you as much as you can handle.

Twenty years ago, life gave me a tough one. I desperately wanted to have children but had a very difficult time getting pregnant. I went through three rounds of in-vitro over two years before I got pregnant with my now 18-year-old daughter. Two years later, another round for her sister.

That was difficult, but my husband and I got through it. We then had 29 weeks of peace with my first pregnancy – until I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and was put in the hospital for the following four weeks. My daughter was born seven weeks early and spent the first five weeks of her life in the NICU.

Was that bad luck? I’m not sure – she did eventually come home a happy, healthy, albeit tiny baby.  My next pregnancy was normal. All’s well that ends well. I believed I had been through my tough period. Life had given me something difficult and I got through it.

The bad luck could move along to the next person. I had done my time.

Not so fast. We were on a good run for about 12 years. Life was good – sure, we had a few bumps in the road here and there, but doesn’t everyone? Then suddenly, we had the worst luck imaginable – my husband had a heart attack and died. Just like that. Horrible luck. Couldn’t get much worse, could it?

Three weeks after my husband’s passing, we were hit with a crazy October snowstorm in NJ. Our power was out for an entire week. Although I was certainly not the only person with no power at that time, I cannot imagine that anyone else in that situation had just lost their spouse. Not only was I a clueless, depressed new widow – I was now a homeless, clueless, depressed new widow. That was when I believed I had the worst luck in the world.

In the almost six years since then, my girls and I have been doing well, although there have been many small signs of bad luck.

We went on vacation, and my older daughter got violently ill.

On the hottest day in July a few years ago, my air conditioner broke.

In the pouring rain, my roof started to leak A LOT, and I found out I need a whole new one.

My younger daughter was hit in the head with a snowball and ended up with a concussion (yes – a snowball – with a chunk of ice in it).

Same daughter got her tongue stuck in her braces and we ended up in the Emergency Room. Yes – you read correctly – her tongue was actually caught in her braces and we could not get it out!

Then there were some more difficult things, such as my older daughter going through a bad period of depression and later being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

In the last couple of years, things were finally looking up. We seemed to be on a good run – until a few months ago, when the bad luck decided to form a black cloud over my house.

I’ll start with a simple one – my dryer broke – just when I had two giant trunks of dirty camp clothes coming in and also needed clean clothes for college to go out.

The daughter with anxiety, who was already a nervous wreck about leaving for college, received that awful text from her roommate saying that she decided not to come to college. She no longer had a roommate. For a girl with anxiety, this is extremely bad luck.

My younger daughter came home from camp with a mysterious stomach ailment and spent most of the next couple of weeks in doctors’ offices and having tests done.

Both daughters, in the car together, were in an accident. Thankfully, they are both fine. A girl, who was answering a message on her laptop while driving, swerved into their lane and hit them.

These things, each on their own, are dealable. Being that they all happened at the same time, after everything else that has happened to the three of us in the last few years, seemed like terrible luck to me.

If life only gives you as much as you can handle, why on earth does it think we can handle so much?

I am a pretty optimistic person. I try to make the best out of a bad situation – I like to make lemonade out of lemons. I do not want to believe in bad luck, that there is a black cloud over my daughters and me.

I look for a silver lining, and yes, I do see a few: the dryer was fixed, my children escaped the accident without a scratch on them, my daughter’s stomach ailment was thankfully nothing too serious.

These bouts of “bad luck” can take a lot out of me, and my stress level goes through the roof.  Although it is sometimes hard to do, I try my best to get through it and keep moving forward.

Hopefully, one day I won’t get any lemons – just the lemonade – it will rain down in buckets – maybe even with a little vodka in it 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I Had Written a Blog as a Mom in the 70’s

I woke up this morning to help get my kids ready for school. They had set their alarms and were getting dressed. They had each chosen their clothes last night. My nine year-old was wearing bell bottom jeans, a fringed poncho and clogs. My six year-old was wearing a plaid jumper with white tights and Mary Janes.

I did their hair. I brushed my nine year-old’s hair into a middle part and pulled it back into two barrettes. Her hair is long like Susan Dey from The Partridge Family but she wants to get a short Dorothy Hammil cut. I’m not so sure that is a good idea. For my six-year-old, I made two pigtails and tied them with red bows. She looked just like Cindy Brady!

I walked into my avocado green and yellow kitchen to make them breakfast. For my older daughter, I toasted a chocolate pop tart, and the younger one had a bowl of Lucky Charms with milk.

While they ate breakfast,  I made their school lunches. My younger daughter gets peanut butter and grape jelly on Wonder Bread with a bag of Fritos, a Devil Dog, and a can of apple juice. My older daughter gets bologna and American cheese, also on Wonder Bread, with a can of Hi-C, a Hunts Snack Pack, and a Twinkie.

I closed the door behind them as they left. They walked down the street by themselves towards the bus stop to catch the Elementary School bus.

My husband had already gone to work so I sat on the couch with a cup of Sanka and watched The Price is Right.

When it was over, I walked into the kitchen and picked up the handle of my bright yellow wall phone and called one of my girlfriends. We recently got push buttons on our phones, so now I don’t have to turn the numbers on the dial anymore. It is so much easier to make a call now – technology is amazing! The phone also has a very long cord so I am able to walk around most of the kitchen while talking.

I chatted with my friend while I ate my breakfast, which was a bowl of Wheaties. I have to be honest – I only bought them because the very handsome Bruce Jenner is on the box. I sprinkled some sugar on them so that they would taste better.

My friend and I gossiped, both about people we know as well as celebrities. We had just heard that someone in our neighborhood is getting a divorce – scandalous! There is also a rumor that Farrah Fawcett may be leaving Charlie’s Angels. I certainly hope that isn’t true. I love that show and she is my favorite angel.

After we hung up, I needed to do some housework. I vacuumed the shag carpet and put away last night’s dishes. Then I sat down with a cigarette and another cup of Sanka while I made a list for the grocery store.

I showered and washed my hair with my Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo. I also splashed on some Jean Nate. Then I got dressed and did my hair. I wore my Gloria Vanderbilt jeans with a cowl neck sweater. I feathered my hair with my blow dryer. I wish it looked as good as Farrah! I threw on my Dr. Scholl’s sandals and my Diane Von Furstenberg oversized sunglasses and hopped in my car.

I drive a station wagon, which is great when you have kids because they can jump around in the back. I put my new Fleetwood Mac tape, Rumours, into the 8-track player and listened to The Chain. I love Stevie Nicks.

I ran into the store with my list in my hand. I needed some Swanson TV dinners, Fish Sticks, Drake’s Coffee Cakes, Tab, and Scooter Pies. I grabbed a pack of Freshen Up gum for myself. I also went to the drug store for some make-up. I was out of blue and green eye shadow and I also bought a little pot of lip gloss.

I was home in time for All My Children. I just love Erica Kane!

I made myself some tuna salad, grabbed a bag of potato chips, and sat in front of the TV to watch my soap.

Later, my kids walked in from the bus stop after school, but they just dropped their stuff in the house and ran out to play with the neighborhood kids. I told them to be back by dinnertime. I then got to watch The Edge of Night. 

They came running back into the house a little later to get money for the ice cream man. I gave them each 50 cents and they ran back outside. I could hear all the kids outside yelling “STOP” at the truck. I hope they bought ice cream and didn’t use the money for something like Pop Rocks. That Mikey kid’s stomach exploded from that stuff.

A couple of hours later, they came in for dinner. I made them a can of Spaghettios because they had a babysitter coming. My husband and I were going out with friends.

The girls put on their nightgowns and I told the babysitter that they could stay up for Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, but had to go to bed as soon as the shows were over. I left the name and number of the restaurant we would be at in case they needed to call.

We met friends at Beefsteak Charlies. We all ordered steak with mashed potatoes and the all-you-can-eat shrimp bar. I also had my favorite drink – a Tequila Sunrise.

A new disco just opened up so we decided to go check it out. I was happy that I had changed into my spandex top and Candie’s, and that I sprayed on some Charlie perfume.

The place was really cool. The disco ball was sparkling and there were flashing strobe lights everywhere. We danced to a couple of songs, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, and Le Freak by Chic. When The Hustle by Van McCoy came on, the whole dance floor was doing the steps. It was a lot of fun.

We got home and paid the babysitter. She makes $1.50 an hour and we were out for four hours. She made $6.00 – she must have been happy!

I am looking forward to tomorrow. We are going to see a new movie, Saturday Night Fever. It’s supposed to be really good.